Top 20 Delicious High Protein Foods to Eat & its Benefits
Dr. Sneha Ganatra
November 02, 2020
Protein is vital to life and is a macronutrient that your body needs for proper growth and maintenance. Learning about proteins a little better will help you understand why and how to incorporate them into your diet.
What is protein?
Proteins are molecules consisting of amino acids that our bodies need. In fact, each cell in our body houses a range of different proteins. Protein is essential to muscle growth, aids bone health, improves metabolism, helps in tissue repair, and can even reduce blood pressure and belly fat.
How much protein do you need?
As an adult, you need approximately 50g of protein a day. However, pregnant women require more, even up to 65g of protein a day.
Whether you side with beef or broccoli, there are plenty of high protein foods that you can consume at various points of the day. From eggs and seafood to legumes and dairy products, picking the right protein foods ensures that your meals are both tasty and healthy.
Here are 18 delicious protein-rich foods to add to your diet
Meat and Poultry
Chicken is a popular staple in India, is extremely versatile and can make its way into a range of different dishes, from tandoori fare and biryanis to salads and noodles. While being a source of low-fat protein, chicken is also a source of niacin and phosphorus and promotes heart and eye health.
- Protein value: 3oz of skinless chicken contains 28g of protein and 141 calories.
Beef is a top choice for those on a high protein diet. While helping you improve muscle mass, beef is also rich in minerals and vitamins, notably Vitamin B12. Of course, one does not need much convincing to dig into a juicy steak but among the meats, beef is a huge provider of L-carnitine. However, keep in mind that leaner cuts provide more protein, and should be part of modern urban diets.
- Protein value: 3oz of steak contains 26g of protein and 158 calories.
From delicious curries like the Mughlai Karahi Gosht to much-loved specialities like Seekh kebab, lamb is a popular item in many Indian cuisines. In terms of nutrition, lamb is rich in protein and offers a range of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc, Vitamin B12, selenium and zinc.
- Protein value: 3oz of lamb contains 23g of protein and 172 calories.
Those who’d rather stay away from meat can turn towards eggs for their protein intake. Even otherwise, egg is a superb option among protein foods as it is affordable to buy while being a great source of nutrients such as Vitamin D, copper and Vitamin B6. Egg is also probably the most versatile kitchen ingredient and if you’re scientific in your approach to your diet, you already know that over 50% of an egg’s protein content is in the whites.
- Protein value: 1 large egg contains 6g of protein and 71 calories.
Shrimp is among the more delicious protein rich foods and what makes it a winner is that experts suggest that it could even be good for your brain and heart. Shrimp contains omega-3 fatty acids, is low in calorie content and contains nutrients, like Vitamin B12, iron and selenium, and antioxidants.
- Protein value: 3oz of shrimp contains 20g of protein and 101 calories.
Tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and consuming it twice a week can do your overall health a world of good. Why? This is because tuna improves health across the board, from positively impacting your heart, blood pressure, immune system and blood circulation to improving your skin and keeping depression at bay!
- Protein value: 3oz of tuna contains 22g of protein and 99 calories.
If you live along the coastline then make sure to dig into soft, juicy scallops every now and then. Every bite is filled with taste and offers a burst of nutrients. Scallops make it to the list of the highest protein foods as they are over 80% protein. A single serving also provides you with iodine, phosphorus and Vitamin B12.
- Protein value: 3oz of scallops contain 14g of protein and 75 calories.
If lobster is a delicacy, it sure is one that nourishes. It provides you with calcium, vitamin A, iron, copper, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids.
- Protein value: 3oz of lobster contains 16g of protein and 76 calories.
Vegetables, legumes and grain
Pinto beans are extremely nutritious, plumper and lighter looking than red kidney beans and contain a cup full of every good nutrient your body needs. They provide you with protein, fibre, sodium, thiamine, iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
- Protein value: ½ cup of pinto beans contains 11g of protein and 197 calories.
This humble Indian staple, a favourite for those who love dal, is a great source of protein. Green mong, chickpea, urad dal, toor dal and horsegram are all lentils. Although they aren’t expensive, they provide you with a host of B vitamins, a huge helping of nutrients, such as folate, pantothenic acid, and zinc, and are 25% protein.
- Protein value: ½ cup of lentils contains 9g of protein and 101 calories.
Quinoa is called a ‘super grain’ and is rich in fibre and protein. In the Indian kitchen, it is used to replace rice in any dish, such as a quinoa pulao, and there are tons of delicious recipes, including salads, that you can look up to get a tasty meal ready. Among its top nutrients are manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- Protein value: ½ cup of quinoa contains 4g of protein and 111 calories.
Adzuki beans find their way into Punjabi, Gujarati, and Maharashtrian dishes. While being chock full of the regular list of nutrients, like folate and manganese, adzuki beans also provide you with antioxidants. The bean is sometimes called aduki or azuki.
- Protein value: ½ cup of adzuki beans contains 9g of protein and 147 calories.
Indian cuisine has no shortage of black bean recipes, from dals to curries, and black beans are a good source of protein, folate and fibre. Interestingly, some studies show that black beans may reduce the surge in blood sugar after meals. So, eating black beans and rice is better than consuming rice alone.
- Protein value: 3oz of skinless chicken contains 8g of protein and 114 calories.
Nuts and seeds
Are soy nuts really nuts? They aren’t, but this doesn’t really matter from the health perspective. If you’re in the habit of snacking, roasted soy nuts or soy nut bars are a way to eat healthy and improve upon your daily protein intake. Importantly, soy nuts may also promote brain health and ward off cancers.
- Protein value: 1oz of soy nuts contains 12g of protein and 120 calories.
If you have a sweet tooth, consider homemade cinnamon sugar pumpkin seeds as your midday snack. Apart from protein, pumpkin seeds provide you with unsaturated fats and omega-3 acids. The latter is a big boost for those who dislike fish. The seeds are also a source of B vitamins and indirectly of vitamin A.
- Protein value: 1oz of pumpkin seeds contains 9g of protein and 159 calories.
Chia seed puddings are a fun breakfast option for many and why not, since these seeds provide a number of nutrients alongside minimal calories. If you are on a high protein diet you’d want to replace some of your regular meals with chia alternatives. The seeds have quality protein and most of the carbohydrate content here is actually fibre.
- Protein value: 1oz of skinless chicken contains 5g of protein and 138 calories.
India, and the internet, has no shortage of dairy-related recipes and while you may think of cottage cheese as an indulgence, an upside of eating it is actually weight loss! It is definitely among the most popular high protein foods and will keep you from feeling hunger pangs for a good while.
- Protein value: 4oz of 1% fat cottage cheese contains 14g of protein and 81 calories.
Is skimmed milk good for protein? It sure is. 1 cup contains 8g of protein and 86 calories. Can’t consume milk due to intolerance? No problem; try soy milk instead. An added benefit is that you get potassium and are left with not much of saturated fat.
- Protein value: 1 cup of soy milk contains 8g of protein and 132 calories.
Between these 18 top protein rich foods you’re sure to have tons of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midday snacks too! Could there be any downsides to going heavy on protein? Well, overdoing anything isn’t smart. Too much protein cannot be processed by your body, and is stored as fat, even as it puts pressure on your liver and kidneys, releasing more ammonia, amino acids and urea in the blood.
An easy solution to getting the right amount of protein into your diet on track is to get professional nutrition insights that suit your body type, metabolism and activity levels, and the Bajaj Finserv Health app makes this absolutely easy. You can setup e-consultations with doctors, locate medical professionals in your vicinity, store your personal health records and more. Once you have your health needs outlined, make use of these powerful protein foods to live healthier!